Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Dissed!

When I was looking through the old New York Times for stuff (like the Son of Paleface article I posted earlier, I came upon the article where Mary Tyler Moore expressed her opinion of WKRP in Cincinnati, at that time MTM's most successful current comedy. There's been some confusion as to what she actually said -- some versions are much more put-downy than what she said -- so I thought I would transcribe it; it's from February 12, 1980, Moore interviewed by Janet Maslin:

----

"But I'm not very pleased by what's happened to television lately. I think there's too much of one kind of comedy show. That's not to say they're not funny, but there are very few options for the viewer. The articulate, witty comedy we used to do on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and The Bob Newhart Show, those kind of wonderful shows are gone." What about WKRP in Cincinnati, an MTM production that is quite successful? "It's not the kind of show that I would be happy performing in."

----

Ouch.

9 comments:

Larry Levine said...

Let me get this straight--Mary had issues appearing on a great show like "WKRP" but was okay with recurring on "That 70's Show"? Ohhhh Robbbbbbbbb!!!!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Sounds like Mare can turn the world down with more than just a smile.

Anonymous said...

From what I've read over the years, Mary Tyler Moore's something a cold, difficult-to-work with individual (just ask Ken Levine). Supposedly the character she plays in Ordinary People is basically her in real life.

molly b. said...

I don't know anything about her personally, but it does seem like she was undeniably a star in the shows she's best-known for: her own, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. She might just be more comfortable playing the lead than being in the kind of ensemble comedy that WKRP was.

DrBear said...

Different times, different comedies. I loved the original Saturday Night Live, don't like it now. Love some standup comics, can't stand others. Love Mary, Love Cheers, Love WKRP, hate Howard Stern. Tastes differ, and just because she didn't like it doesn't make her a bad person.

Jaime J. Weinman said...

Tastes differ, and just because she didn't like it doesn't make her a bad person.

Agreed.

In a way, I think it's kind of cool that she didn't feel a need to go all diplomatic about a show just because she owned a piece of it. Can you imagine say, Ron Howard dissing 24?

Anonymous said...

>>>Supposedly the character she plays in Ordinary People is basically her in real life.

Except for the fact that it was abook before the movie.

Mark said...

I've read a number of reviews of WKRP, written while it was on the air, and what surprises me about them is a tendency to be rather dismissive of the series and to label it as a rowdy "youth" comedy similar to what Garry Marshall was doing on ABC, which I don't understand, because it seems to me that WKRP very clearly ISN'T that. Maybe CBS was selling it that way, or at least trying to lead critics and potential audiences to believe the series was something other than what it was. (A newspaper ad I once ran across could easily have led one to assume that WKRP was a show about Loni Anderson's breasts.)

Perhaps, too, because the series was coming from MTM, some people were puzzled because it didn't conform to MTM's house style.

Jaime J. Weinman said...

CBS definitely was selling it that way, and it was a big bone of contention between CBS and Hugh Wilson. The only time WKRP was a hit was when it was on at 9:30 after M*A*S*H, but during the second season CBS moved it to 8:00 on the same night, a time slot which was at that time normally considered a "youth" time slot. For most of its run, CBS kept putting the show at 8 or 8:30, before or after shows that were more youth-oriented, and it never worked. I think they'd gotten the idea that rock music = kids' show.